A Sutton school that is celebrating its 60th birthday laid down more roots this week – when the Royal Town’s MP planted a tree as part of a year of celebrations.
This year marks 60 years since Fairfax School first opened, and staff and former pupils are planning a series of events to mark the anniversary, from a grand reunion and exhibition in September to a new portrait of founding headteacher Gordon Philpott.
And last week Sutton MP Andrew Mitchell joined the celebrations to plant a tree in the ‘quad’ in the centre of the school site, watched by head of Academy Deborah Bunn and Neil Philpott – chair of the academy association and grandson of the school’s founder.
“It’s a real pleasure to return to Fairfax as part of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary and plant this tree as a symbol of confidence in the future - and gratitude for 60 years of hard work educating generations of Royal Town youngsters,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I’ve been here many times over the last 20 years and it was a particular pleasure today to see some very familiar faces from the early years as my time as Sutton’s Member of Parliament.”
Head of Academy Deborah Bunn said: “We’re really delighted to be celebrating our 60th year – when Gordon Philpott founded the school in 1959 he was committed to ‘social mobility’ before it became a popular phrase, and was determined that his comprehensive students had the same opportunities given to grammar school students.
“He also founded the school’s house system, which is still in place, and introduced competitive sports and performing arts through our infamous eisteddfod, which is still going strong.
“We were very happy to be joined today by his grandson Neil and by the Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP to plant this tree. The values that founded Fairfax are deeply rooted in our school and we hope the tree we planted today will provide a reminder of them as it grows over the next 60 years.”
The reunion on Friday, September 27th is one of a number of events being planned by Fairfax to mark the 60th milestone, from meals to an exhibition, and staff want former pupils to join its new alumni association to share memories and keepsakes from their school days.
If you are a former pupil and would like to know more about Fairfax’s 60th birthday plans, email firstname.lastname@example.org